As part of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Department for Transport’s (DfT) commitment to supporting the further expansion of General Aviation here in the UK, it has introduced the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Programme.
This scheme focuses on supporting airfields and helicopter landing sites in the UK to implement GNSS Approach procedures, through grant funding from the DfT, as well as access to expert advice and assistance from the CAA.
What are the benefits to the GNSS Programme?
- Improve flight safety: Introducing an authorised GNSS approach will enable pilots to recover to airfields and HLS, enabling increased safety when landing in poorer weather.
- Create commercial opportunities and provide increased resilience for helicopter emergency services: It will encourage commercial development activity, enabling airfields to operate in poorer weather conditions as well as enabling emergency services helicopters in recovering to HLS, where previous operations have been limited to visual flight conditions.
- Financial support: A key part of this Programme is the provision of financial support to the airfield and HLS sponsors. The Secretary of State for Transport has directed that airfields involved in the GNSS Programme can be provided with financial assistance in the form of funding to cover up to 75% of eligible costs incurred in developing their project.
- Dedicated CAA team to support you through the process: The CAA recognises that sponsors may not have prior experience of the Airspace Change Process (ACP) and that this may require specialist knowledge and support. In response, the CAA has established a dedicated GNSS Facilitation Team to support sponsors of change at airfields and also those operators of helicopters engaged in emergency services. In addition, significant refinements have been made to CAA Airspace Change Process (ACP) and have reduced the process by around 45%.
What support is available through the scheme?
The Secretary of State for Transport has directed that sponsors of GNSS approaches can receive financial assistance in the form of funding to cover up to 75% of the costs reasonably incurred in developing their proposals. The financial assistance from the DfT will cover a large proportion of the investment towards the costs that you incur as you progress through the ACP. We have designed a reimbursement process that is simple and straightforward allowing us to make payments swiftly whilst ensuring that information is verified and audited appropriately.
Example of costs that qualify for funding are:
- Development of safety case.
- Airspace design work.
- Procedure validation work.
- External consultants’ costs.
The CAA’s Facilitation Team
The Facilitation Team will be responsible for supporting you through the process. It has established as a dedicated resource to assist aerodromes and helicopter operators throughout the process of submitting an ACP for the introduction of GNSS approaches at an aerodrome without Approach Control and/or at aerodromes with a non-instrument runway and PinS at licensed / unlicensed HLS. The purpose of the team is to act as a bridge between the aerodrome applicant and CAA regulatory staff and to help applicants adequately address the technical issues that may arise as their ACP progresses. The team can provide advice and guidance in the following areas
- Airspace Regulation and the ACP process
- Instrument procedure design
- Air traffic management
The team is staffed by subject matter experts with CAA regulatory experience and has access to CAA staff, so they are able to seek relevant and accurate opinions and guidance where necessary that can be passed on. This allows applicants to follow the process in the confidence that their submission, whilst not guaranteed, will have the optimal chance of success, whilst the integrity and objectivity of the approval process is maintained.
The CAA publishes a list of Approved Procedure Design Organisations (APDO) that have met the competency requirements laid down by the CAA and hold an approval for the design of instrument flight procedures for aerodromes or heliports, which are under the jurisdiction of the CAA. It is important that the APDO is engaged early in the process to ensure that their input is available when considering options related to the safe operation of the procedures including the types of aircraft that might use them, the local airspace environment, the impact on other airspace users as well as the impact on the environment.
If additional external resource is required to undertake the activities detailed in the airspace change process, there are a number of aviation consultants with experience of airspace change in the UK. The Facilitation Team will be able to provide you with further information although we are not able to directly recommend the services of a particular provider. It will be your responsibility to enter into commercial arrangements with external consultants.
The DfT considers Phase 3 of the GNSS Programme as a priority activity of the CAA. The support from the UK government through its financial assistance, and the CAA Facilitation Team’s expertise, will enable a great opportunity to those interested in implementing GNSS PinS procedures within the UK and realise benefit through this this grant funding opportunity.
Who is eligible to apply?
Eligible applicants are aerodrome operators without approach control and/or at aerodromes with a non-instrument runway Air Ambulance for PinS at unlicensed HLS.
Registering your interest
To register your interest and participate in the GNSS programme, please contact the dedicated GNSS Facilitation Team directly at email@example.com to receive your detailed information pack.